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Lesson 1: Planning

Am I really ready to buy?

Buying a home offers many advantages, one of the most significant being that it allows you to build equity (ownership) when you pay your mortgage each month. A common myth is that monthly mortgage payments are more expensive than rent. But, in many cases, mortgage payments can be even less than rent. When considering homeownership for the first time, you need to decide whether buying makes financial and practical sense for you right now or if you are better off renting. Consider both the advantages and disadvantages to renting as well as buying for your particular situation.

How much “house” can I afford?

Home ownership is within many consumers' reach. And the first step toward finding the right home is to quickly compute your purchasing power and determine how much can you afford to pay each month. This saves you time by allowing you to focus on homes in your price range.
In addition, you should consider both the up-front and ongoing costs associated with purchasing a home in the planning stage:

Up-front Costs:

  • Down-payment: Typically ranges from 3.5-25% of the cost of the house. The more you can put down, the greater equity you will have in your home and the lower your monthly payment will be. For down-payments less than 20% you may also need to pay mortgage insurance.
  • Closing Costs: Typically range from 3-6% of the loan amount depending on your area.
  • On-going Costs: Your housing costs can include the following:
    Monthly mortgage payment
    Homeowners insurance
    Mortgage Insurance, if applicable
    Flood Insurance, if applicable
    Property taxes
    Utilities
    Maintenance
Lesson 2 >

 

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